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Kobe Bryant Chides Fan for Using 'You're Gay' as an Insult


Los Angeles Lakers superstar Kobe Bryant may be relatively new to Twitter, but he's already making waves with his social-media experience.

On Sunday evening, Bryant replied to an NBA fan who tweeted "you're gay" in response to another fan's joke directed at Bryant.

In doing so, he sent a message to his 1 million-plus Twitter followers: It's not acceptable to use homophobic slurs as insults. For school-aged children, hearing an icon like Bryant take a stand against such language may make them think twice before reverting to those types of insults in the future.

Bryant's tweet has been retweeted more than 4,000 times since Sunday night.

Ten minutes after Bryant sent his reprimand, the user replied, "sorry man."

One of Bryant's followers was quick to remind him that he, too, had fallen into the trap of using a homophobic slur as an insult in the past. Back in April 2011, Bryant was fined $100,000 for using a gay slur directed at a referee that was picked up on national television.

Bryant acknowledged his apparent hypocrisy by saying, "That wasn't cool and was ignorant on my part. I own it and learn from it and expect the same from others."

He told ESPN.com's J.A. Adande on Tuesday, "A lot of times, especially as celebs, people want to put you in a box because this is what you were at the start. You evolve. You change as people."

Ramona Shelburne of ESPNLosAngeles.com shared more of Bryant's conversation with Adande today.

"It's a pretty simple one for me," Bryant said. "You learn from your f-ups and you try not to make them again. It's really that simple. ... You have an opportunity—especially on Twitter, you have that kind of platform and so forth, I think it's important to do so."

After all, in a way, isn't that what school is all about? Ask David Ginsburg, who writes the "Coach G's Teaching Tips" blog for Education Week Teacher. In a post from January 2012, Ginsburg recommended allowing students to make mistakes in school so they can learn from it.

"Students' grasp of new concepts and skills is often better when they struggle through the process of learning those concepts and skills than when teachers error-proof that process," he wrote.

Justin Reich, who writes the EdTech Researcher blog on edweek.org, also wrote earlier this week that "there is no learning without mistakes."

On a semi-related note: Kenneth Faried, a forward for the Denver Nuggets, became the first NBA player this week to join Athlete Ally, an organization that aims to challenge homophobia in sports. Faried was raised by two lesbian mothers.

"I have two moms and I love them both very much," Faried said in a statement. "I respect, honor, and support them in every way. The bond I have with them has made me realize that I want all members of the LGBT community—whether they are parents, players, coaches, or fans—to feel welcome in the NBA and in all of our communities."

Kathy Behrens, the NBA's executive vice president of social responsibility and player programs, said in a statement that the league was "proud to work with Athlete Ally" and thanked Faried "for his leadership on this issue."

Photo: Los Angeles Lakers guard Kobe Bryant (24) walks onto the court with Metta World Peace, left, and Dwight Howard during the second quarter of an NBA basketball game against the Boston Celtics last week in Boston. (Charles Krupa/AP)

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